Reports of the death of Bill Speakman VC . . .


Met him, once, at the Royal Hospital: robust in attitude though (even then) frail.
An old drinking mate of mine, was there at the time, REME att, Robust in attitude was his memory of the bloke.
A measure of the man, in his own words:

"Don't forget—ever, ever forget—there was a whole company, a whole battalion, fighting that night, not just me… I was just one of them. But I did get quite a few grenades together as I realised this was the only weapon on that hard ground that was going to be effective. And it worked. And that was it. There was no bravado, or anything like that, or being courageous, you just do what you have to. I certainly wasn’t going to become a POW, and every one of us did what we had to do and fought, that was the way it went. We all mucked in and worked together".

Rest in peace Bill Speakman VC
When I’d served my time I came home. Then I had to go and see the Queen, as I’d won this medal. The King (George VI) awarded it, but the Queen gave me it [as by then the King had died]. Then I went back to Berwick and did a bit more time there.
I hope this will serve to shut up those who get beside themselves over what they think is the incorrect use of the word 'won'


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A brave and honourable man, who like many, had his ghosts. He wasn't afraid to admit to his faults, but by heck, he was a bloody good soldier.
RIP Bill, your stag is done
Colour Sergeant John (Cush) Common MM – Imperial War Museum Interview – The King's Own Scottish Borderers

Did Cush Common MM get his MM in the same action?
His son Bill went onto become a Lt Col in another famous Lowland Regiment.
Aye though Cush was Charlie Company, Big Bill was Bravo Company.

The two forward platoons of Charlie Company had been out on a limb and were severely mauled. 2/Lt Wullie Purves, a National Service Officer, and Cush, conducted a fighting withdrawal bringing back both platoons and all their wounded. Purves was awarded the DSO, Cush the MM. Both extremely tenacious and courageous young men... and both National Servicemen!

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